Literary Genre 2015 (2012.Q2)

2012 LITERARY GENRE

  1. (a) With reference to one text on your comparative course, discuss the author’s use of setting (or settings) as an effective feature of good story telling. (30)

(a) There are a number of features that contribute to effective story telling in any narrative. Everything from characterisation to dialogue to suspense can play a crucial role. In the case of the texts that I studied for my comparative course, setting was a feature that a played a distinctive and significant part in making the texts so memorable. The first text where the author’s use of setting was centrally important was in ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ (TCITR), by J.D. Sallinger.

PP#1: Setting influences plot

PP#2: Setting influences characters

PP#3: Setting adds to suspense

PP#4: Setting influences dialogue

PP#5: Setting helps convey themes

PP#6: Setting helps create atmosphere

Short closing paragraph

(b) With reference to two other texts on your comparative course, compare how the authors use settings as an effective feature of good story telling.  (40)

(b) The significance of setting as as an effective feature of good story telling was even more apparent in the other two texts I studied as part of my comparative course. These two texts –  Blade Runner (BR), directed by Ridley Scott, and A Doll’s House (ADH) by Henrik Ibsen – were typical examples of how essential setting can be when it comes to creating stories that are engaging and original.

The most effective role that the setting played in both texts was the manner in which both plots were heavily influenced by the places and times that each story took place. In BR, we are immediately told that there has been a ‘bloody mutiny’ and soon we are met with images of a dark dystopian cityscape with fire billowing into the night sky. This future world where only the ‘little people’ are left behind is one where it soon became apparent to me that life was cheap and the unfortunate citizens had learned to become detached from the dark, dangerous and isolating world in which they lived. The plot at the centre of the narrative – that of the Bladerunners’ mission to ‘retire’ the replicants is typical of the violent dystopian setting of the text. ADH, on the other hand, appears at first to have a less influential setting. It is a much smaller and simpler world than that of BR; and of course set in the past rather than the present. Despite the obvious differences, the setting of ADH also plays a crucial role in the plot. It is the societal expectations of the setting that have trapped Nora and lead her towards her ultimate rebellion. So despite the huge contrasts between both settings, in each case the author is similarly effective in using setting to further the plot in both BR and ADH.

The setting of a text is also hugely effective in the development of the characters;  and in both texts this is clearly the case. In BR………

PP#3: Setting adds to suspense

PP#4: Setting influences dialogue

PP#5: Setting helps convey themes

PP#6: Setting helps create atmosphere

Short closing paragraph

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English@BanagherCollege

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